Wolf Pack Nation,
I hope this message finds everyone safe and healthy.
Governor Sisolak recently announced our state’s move in to Phase 2 of the recovery plan and University President Marc Johnson announced the move of our campus into Phase 2 of our own re-opening plan beginning earlier this month.
While these are important steps, we still have a long road ahead of us. Our team continues to work diligently with our medical staff and other experts to determine our plans and procedures for our return to competition this fall. And to be clear, these plans will continue to evolve over the next few months as we all learn more about the COVID-19 outbreak and the steps we need to take to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans.
While much more is still to be decided, I want to briefly share with you some plans based on what we know now. We will have a significantly reduced available capacity at Mackay Stadium and other facilities on campus as we open the 2020-21 athletics season. How much is to be determined but it is anticipated that capacity at Mackay will be less than 50 percent of the stadium, which has about 27,000 seats.
We are examining different models for seating configurations that work best with social distancing protocols in place. While we work to finalize these details and our capacity for the 2020 season, we will prioritize accommodation for season-ticketholders who renewed their tickets from the 2019 season. The initial deadline for renewal was June 3 but has been extended until June 30.
We are also working on developing safe social distancing plans and processes, and acquiring the necessary sanitizing equipment for the stadium. Those protocols could also include reduced concessions options and the need for everyone in the stadium – fans, ushers, staff, etc. – to wear masks or face coverings while in Mackay.
We will also be transitioning to a digital ticketing system beginning this fall. More information on this will be coming this summer, including how to download tickets to your smartphone.
I also want to be clear that we are treating this 2020 season as a “one-off,” for lack of a better term. For those of you who are not comfortable renewing your season tickets for 2020, you will continue to have the rights on your same seats for the 2021 season. Refund options will also be available to those season-ticketholders who renewed seats but are no longer comfortable attending games.
It is too early to tell at this point how social distancing protocols will affect sports beyond the fall season, including men’s and women’s basketball games at Lawlor.
We can’t wait to be back on the field but for now, our focus is on ensuring that we can do so in a manner that promotes a safe and healthy environment for all.
To close, I want share some phenomenal news from the academic side of the house. Our department grade-point average for the spring semester was unbelievable. Our 400-plus student-athletes recorded a 3.11 GPA cumulatively across all sports. That’s up from 2.92 in the fall semester – and from a 3.0 last spring -- as 12 of our 15 sports increased their team GPAs from fall to spring.
Congratulations to our women’s golf team for a 3.7 GPA to lead all sports and to our men’s cross country team for leading the way on the men’s side with a 3.4 team GPA
To accomplish this feat, while being challenged in ways never seen before with distance learning during a global pandemic, is an amazing accomplishment and we are incredibly proud of the work by our student-athletes, and the support shown by University administration, faculty and our department’s academic advisors.
I can’t wait to see you all soon,